France now world’s biggest buyer of Russian natural gas despite Ukraine invasion. Source: EXPRESS. Daily Briefing

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France now world’s biggest buyer of Russian natural gas despite Ukraine invasion

European imports of Russian LNG are said to have increased by 40 percent this year.

By Alessandra Scotto di Santolo

13:15, Tue, Dec 27, 2022 | UPDATED: 14:05, Tue, Dec 27, 2022

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France, already the main importer of Russian LNG in Europe, has become the world’s leading importer of Putin‘s natural gas, beating even Japan in February and March. It comes as European imports are said to have increased by 40 percent this year. 

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Between January and October, France imported 4.45 million tonnes of Russian LNG, an increase of 52 percent in one year.

It comes as Russia’s deputy prime minister opened the door to a return of gas supplies to Poland and Germany via the Yamal gas pipeline, which is currently unused.

  • But this is unlikely to happen as Europe has found other sources, including Russian liquefied natural gas.

Moscow is currently sending contradictory signals. After threatening to cut its oil production in protest against the European embargo on crude and the price cap, Russia says it is ready to resume gas deliveries via the Yamal pipeline.

“The European market remains relevant because the gas shortage persists and we have the opportunity to resume supplies,” the deputy prime minister in charge of energy, Alexander Novak, told the official news agency Tass.

french president emmanuel macron

France is Russia’s number one customer of gas imports (Image: Getty)

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Russia deputy prime minister Alexander Novak

Russia says it is ready to resume gas deliveries via the Yamal pipeline (Image: Getty)

He said the Yamal pipeline, which links Russia to Poland and Germany, had been stopped for “political reasons”.

Shortly after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, as supplies to Europe began to dwindle, Gazprom stopped its deliveries via Yamal. Then the Russian company demanded that Poland pay in roubles.

Warsaw refused and the Polish government terminated its contract with Gazprom.

At the end of August, the pipeline was shut down for three days of maintenance, but has not been reactivated since. The flows were then reversed to allow Poland to be supplied from Germany.

These statements could indicate that the various measures taken against Russia and its hydrocarbon production are beginning to dry up its economy.

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